WASHINGTON –After Iran rejected calls to reduce Uranium enrichment to a level of 20%, Washington on Monday put its foot down, saying that Tehran must bring uranium enrichment to a complete stop in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.
Five days before the six powers and Iran are set to resume talks in Istanbul, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the US' stance has been made clear. Carney expressed hope that Iran realizes the whole world is in agreement that it must give up its nuclear program.
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"Our position is clear…that Iran must live up to its international obligations, including the full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple UN Security Council resolutions," he said, adding: "Our bottom line is the cessation of uranium enrichment and the verifiable decision by the regime in Tehran to forgo pursuit of a nuclear weapon."
On Sunday, Iran rejected Western demands to close its Fordo nuclear bunker and give up higher-level uranium enrichment.
Map of Iranian nuclear facilities
These two demands, outlined by European and US diplomats to The New York Times newspaper, were "irrational," the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, told ISNA news agency in a lengthy interview.
"We do not see any rationale for such a request from the P5+1," he said.
But, he added, "We will not produce 20% enrichment fuel more than what we need, because it is not in our benefit to produce and keep it."
During a press briefing at the White House, Carney noted that President Obama made it clear that the window for a diplomatic solution is closing, and that "time is not infinite here."
However, Carney added, "There is enough time and enough space at this moment to pursue a diplomatic solution - that’s why the resumption of these talks is important."
Meanwhile, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday that the United States does not intend to hold public negotiations with Tehran, adding that they will react to what is said behind closed doors during talks in Istanbul.
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